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Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Inappropriate Use of the Fword

Many consultants consider that providing some Fr** consultancy will assist them in developing a relationship and therefore work with a client. I have a real problem with the Fword in that it gives all the commitment and risk to the provider and none to the buyer. Typically it’s treated with less respect by the buyer because it doesn’t matter as its F***. With all consultancy and advice once you've given it you can’t take it back. Sometimes the clients problem is so basic that as a consultant you can provide the solution in a few words, don’t because you'll end up with a very happy lost prospect whose had his problem solved for nothing. Providing Fr** (there I still can’t say it) consultancy undervalues what you're offering.

However for those with an empty pipeline or who are weak closers Fr** is a way of engaging the customer. If you feel you must offer something try the following "lets meet up for X hrs next week. Lets agree now that if you don’t get value from that meeting we will shake hands I'll walk away and you'll owe me nothing, if, however, you do get value then you agree to pay me £X." When I've used this line as a close and it’s been accepted I've always got paid for that meeting getting paid for subsequent meetings or projects is then a non issue.


  1. Very impressive. Its good to know that people pay for a meeting. Still have difficulty there with SMEs but no probs with Corps or bigger companies. Good advice though

  2. I use this all the time - works like a bomb!

  3. Completely agree... much easier to get investment in your ideas if the client is investing in your time with hard cash...

  4. I totally agree, Laurence.

    Ask knowledgable questions in order to understand their problems, but don't start solving them until they start paying you.

    I'd add that getting paid at least 50% before you start solving anything sure helps your cash-flow, AND it makes the client more committed to the project, so you can do a better job. You could even give a small reduction for 100% up front payment.

  5. I usually require a fee for the initial meeting and I deal exclusively with private individuals or couples.

    However I applaud the concept of inviting the client to pay only if they benefit.

  6. Hello Laurence,

    Your comment about the fact that the answer might take only a moment brought a real life tale to mind.

    I was in an engineer's office when he got a call from a client who needed something urgently.

    He quoted the client a fee of $10,000. The client agreed.

    He quoted the client a completion date of two weeks hence - and let the client bargain him down to one week.

    After hanging up the phone, he made some quick notes on a pad of paper for less than one minute. Then stuck the note pad in the drawer.

    He said. OK, that's done. I'll send it to him in about a week.

    Seeing my raised eyebrow, he said, if I had given it to him right away, do you think he would have paid $10,000? Of course not. People are conditioned to pay for time, when it's my expertise I'm really selling.

    That was a fine lesson to learn early in life.